Shay Castle Profile picture
Jul 29 112 tweets 14 min read
Next: Police reform.

This is really an overhaul of the police master plan, last updated in 2013, but it was used instead to implement Reimagine Policing, an Obama Foundation effort.…
There have been several period of public input on things like, what do you want your police dept to look like and do? Tonight we have a look at the draft plan in its entirety for the first time.
It will be followed by one final public engagement period, so if you've got Thoughts you haven't shared yet, now is the time.

Council will adopt this plan in December.
"Never in my 30-year career have I witnessed more opportunity to create change," Chief Maris Herold says, referencing the murder of George Floyd and the inaction in Uvalde, Texas.
Both of these showed serious issues including lack of transparency and dedication to the sanctity of all human life, Herold says.
I don't have similar concerns about our police in Boulder, Herold says. "I'm not saying police officers will never make mistakes," but we have built a more robust system than anywhere in the U.S.
I shared this in my story, but here are the draft value statements and focus areas:…
"We feel safe in our community when:
- We are all free to enjoy public and private spaces without fear of harm;
- Laws are enforced equitably;
- Police respond professionally and respectfully when we need them, but we have alternative and creative resources to address problems...
...not suited to policing;
- We demonstrate we are a compassionate community that supports the basic needs and the right to be free from crime for all community members;
- Criminal behavior is met with accountability measures that are fair and just...
...within policing and other systems, with opportunities for individuals to be supported in underlying issues; and
- Officers are part of the communities they serve, building relationships and understanding and addressing problems before having to ... resort to force."
There are 6 focus areas, and 13 key strategies within them:
1.) Partnering with Community
- Two-way communication and education
- Building positive relationships
- Proactive problem-solving partnerships
2.) Ensuring Right Response, Role for Police
- Alternative responses and partnerships “to ensure the most appropriate responses to encampments, mental health and other social issues”
- “Evaluating benefits/challenges to reallocating dept funding or functions”
- Training
3.) Providing Leadership in Reducing/Preventing Crime
- Prevention strategies
- “Promoting the concept of do no harm”
- Responsive when crime / danger occurs
4.) Serving as Trusted Partner in Racial Equity, Support for Vulnerable Populations
- Workforce diversity
- Training (anti-bias, vulnerable populations)
- Partnerships with orgs that work with vulnerable populations
5.) Recruiting and Supporting a Professional Workplace with Integrity
- Centering staff wellness
- Defining a “quality candidate”
- Recruiting/retention
- Increasing/maintaining morale
6.) Modeling Transparency and Accountability
- Use of Force
- Complaints
- Crime statistics
- Interactions with diverse populations
To that last focus area, BPD is going to have an independent analysis of all stops, arrests and use of force for potential disparities when it comes to race, ethnicity and gender.
It will analyze all arrests, stops and force used from January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2021
It will be interesting to see, because Boulder PD have done less of what they call "proactive" policing since 2013 — those are officer-initiated traffic and pedestrian stops.

25.7% of interactions in 2020 were proactive, vs 46.8% in 2013 (8-yr average was 36.5%)
As we know from national data/reports, discretionary stops can be a potential for bias to enter in.

Of course, residents calling the police are often biased, too. Boulder's cops are spending more of their time responding to calls rather than stopping ppl themselves.
70.5% of police interactions in 2021 were "reactive" (citizen initiated), vs. 47.9% in 2013

Avg from 2013-2020: 58.2% reactive
Overall, police are responding to fewer incidents: 21.4% decrease from 2013 to 2020

But they're spending more time when they do get called, and more officers are responding to each call.
That's bc the types of incidents they're handing have changed. For example, they're responding less to traffic incidents bc of things like red light photo enforcement (up 108% between 2013 and 2020) and more to property and violent crime (up 40% and 60%, respectively)
That's more than national increases during that time
Violent crimes: 57%
Property crimes: 36%
Back to how that impacts how officers spend their time in Boulder:
37.8 minutes per incident in 2013, on average
45.2 minutes in 2021
(Actual high point was 49.5 min/incident in 2018)
I'm still working through the full staffing analysis. More detail in this weekend's story.
It also might be helpful to know what types of crimes are categorized as violent and property crimes

Property: burglary, criminal mischief, fraud, prowler, shoplifter, suspicious, theft, recovered stolen property, trespassing, vehicle trespass
Violent: assault, bomb threat, child abuse, domestic disturbance, harassment, kidnapping, menacing, reckless endangerment, robbery, shooting, shots heard, stabbing, weapon
Sex crimes are their own category, although they are certainly violent.

We don't actually have the by-crime breakdown in that staffing analysis; they just use these broad categories.
As a result of that staffing analysis, BPD is recommending adding 14 officers over the next five years, plus 2 sergeants and 6 lieutenants.
Bc of existing vacancies, 30 total officers are needed to reach recommended levels, BPD wrote. 18-19 new officers will need to be hired/trained each of the next five years, in anticipation of continued attrition.
59 officers retired or resigned in 2020 and 2021
40% of BPD officers are new
Small aside, but Boulder PD has a goal of 30% female officers by 2030. (National average is 12%)

“Research suggests female officers use less force, are named in fewer complaints, and make fewer discretionary arrests of non-white community members”
Anyway, back to hiring additional cops. The consultant who did the workforce analysis recommended 8-14 new officers. BPD is asking for the full 14 (plus those sergeants and lieutenants)
Along with other budget items (like replacing bomb robots, buying new cars, training), implementing this recommended plan will cost an additional $3.89M over 5 years in ongoing expenses, and $1.77M in one-time expenditures
Here's a rough list of new expenditures:
Extra $15K /yr for training for two commanders
$170K/yr for POST training academy with CU
$10K for civil disturbance training
$10-$15K for community facilitator
$360K to replace robot + $163K/yr in replacement costs for other robots
$113,500/yr for camera system
$10K for peer support training
$200K for EV charging infrastructure

Plus: $60-$90M to replace/redo police HQ (that's not in this 5-year plan, but it's something they've been talking about for quite some time)
BPD in 2013:
- $31.7M budget
- 173 sworn officers
- 104 civilian employees

In 2022:
- $40.4M
- 190 sworn officers
- 99 civilian employees
One more note on hiring officers: bc of time spent training, plus sick leave, parental leave, vacation and holidays, 2.25 officers need to be hired for every officer that's actually working a shift on the streets.
Sorry, I know I'm throwing a lot at you, but there was a lot in there.

How does Boulder police spending compare to other places? 25% of Boulder's discretionary budget is for police; vs. 28.5% for 30 benchmark, mid-size cities
We spend more per resident ($340) than those cities ($301). And way more on training: $2,327 in training per officer, vs $1,156 in those peer cities
We have higher crime rates than most of those cities as well, and our residents are more likely to call the cops here:

Boulder had 4th-highest calls for service per 1,000 people in 2021, and the highest in 2020 (again among those 30 cities)
Again, I know I'm throwing a lot at you. TL;DR so far: Boulder PD responding to 21.4% fewer incidents since 2013, but spending more time on calls and responding with more officers as property and violent crime increase (nationally and here, but faster here).
TL;DR continued: BPD recommending ~$4M in extra funding over next 5 years, plus 14 additional officers and 8 extra sergeants and lieutenants

Bc of those current vacancies, they'll really need to hire ~30 new cops over those 5 years
The plan rejects calls to reallocate police funding, even as it acknowledges the need for alternative responses for things like mental/behavioral health and homelessness.
Boulder currently does co-response for mental/behavioral health (with cops and mental health professionals) but due to police staffing issues, mental health professionals often end up responding alone.

Which is what other cities do: Not co-response, but alternative response.
I have more, but council is starting questions/feedback.
Folkerts and Herold chatting about "stratified policing," which Herold calls "the heart" of the reimagining police plan (and community policing).

I didn't take notes on it bc it's kinda fuzzy. Here's what the plan says:
"The Stratified Policing Model re-defines successful crime reduction by looking beyond the arrest to more permanent solutions involving community partners and other government stakeholders. The goals of Stratified Policing are to address small crime patterns and problem locations
... through problem solving before they escalate, and ultimately reduce crime and disorder. This is done in part by engaging with community stakeholders (such as service providers or business owners) in areas of the city with high crime volumes...
... and collaborating on localized solutions. This approach will result in the department being more proactive and less reactive. The model clearly defines who is responsible for crime problems based on the scope of the problem and who is accountable for the response."
It also had this little diagram.
None of this said much to me, bc it is all very conceptual and nothing really firm. But Herold has always talked about crime prevention, and is really big on "proactive" (officer initiated contact) vs "reactive" (citizen calls) policing.
Joseph: I appreciate you mentioning diversity, but they seem like just visions. I don't see the strategic plan.

Herold: We will have a very robust recruiting and retraining strategy. We are recruiting in historically diverse neighborhoods in the regional.
Herold: We have a ton of marketing on buses that travel through our regions, and in places where Black policing institutions have space. We're working with CU and CU's athletic department.
"This is one of the hardest things facing policing right now," Herold says. "Especially after the murder of George Floyd."

We are doing well, Herold says. I'm hearing that applicants are choosing Boulder bc they have the best chance of reimagining policing.
Joseph: I appreciate you mentioning it, but I hope it's somewhere in a report, with metrics. "Just saying things is not enough." We need to show the community we're doing the work.
"If you're having a hard time hiring police of color, maybe we need to look internally and ask why," Joseph says.
Joseph asks about the 30 benchmark cities Boulder compared itself to.

Herold: They are benchmark cities bc they are probably the closest aligned — university towns, ~100K people, similar city budgets. But there are differences, obviously.
Folkerts: I appreciated the list of values in the plan. Fitting the strategies to those values is really important. I would like to see a little more imagining around that.
Folkerts: When I looked at the benchmark study, there are so many areas Boulder is doing well: our focus on training, the number of women in policing, our use of body-warn cameras, recruiting the highest classes of graduates
Not entirely sure what she meant by that last one, but it reminded me of this from the plan: Officers cannot become sergeants in BPD without a four-year degree.
“BPD hiring requirements emphasize college experience. For entry-level police officers, the department requires 60 hours of college credit or” military duty with honorable discharge, or 3 yrs experience as police officer
That's because, per the plan, “Research indicates that officers with higher levels of education are less likely to use force or be involved in disciplinary actions”
Several questions/references to the joint police academy BPD is planning with CU (and maybe BoCo sheriff and other local forces).

Looking at other academies, some of the things they were teaching "scared me," Herold says.
Herold: In our own academy, we could have our own values, and community involvement.
Folkerts: The amount of the plan "focused on revenue and funding, to me that felt... it was just an interesting... typically I think of these long-term plans as being really aspirational. The tone didn't capture that in a lot of areas."
All dept are faced with revenue challenges, Folkerts says. "We can't, like, start with that being our focus."
Never thought I'd hear a criticism about a master plan not being aspirational enough, but it's finally happened!

As a viewer of many master plans, this one *was* more specific (in certain areas, but vague in others like how to reach certain values) but I kinda liked that.
Folkerts sounds really hesitant to give criticism, which is what council is doing now.
Folkerts: I'd like more data on how police are spending their time. There was some, but not enough specificity.

I'm really interested in the analysis of stops, arrests and force, but there isn't any timeline for that.
Herold: I agree with all those suggestions, and they're all very doable.
Friend: Often in master plans, we get departments saying here are three levels of funding and what we can do under each one. We didn't get that here.
Friend also seems hesitant to offer criticism. "I know this can often" inspire defensiveness, "and I hope that doesn't happen here."
"I just wonder if we've gone broadly enough on reimagining," Friend says. "I'm not naive; I don't think societies can exist without criminal justice systems." But we're at a critical point.
Friend: "If we are reimagining, have we taken it down to the studs far enough so that it is most beneficial for the people doing the work and the community?"
Herold: "I am very open-minded and not defensive at all. I'd love to sit down with you and see if I can see what you're seeing."
Benjamin: I really would like to see a much stronger commitment and set of actions with regards to how we engage communities of color and those who are disproportionately impacted by police.
"I think we have to go above and beyond in gaining and building back the trust in those communities," Benjamin says.
Benjamin: The plan says the department wants to 'expand liaison relationships.' I think that's light, to be frank." I want to see data, I want to see goals, I want to see measurable increase in trust when we look back in 10 years.
Speer: I echo what my colleagues are saying. How are we defining success? What are we really trying for? Where can we look and see exactly what groups' input was, and what the impact was?
I'd like to see more specificity on some terms, Speer says. What does it mean to be free of crime? This can mean dif things to dif people.
Speer: "I was a little bit surprised to not see in there is the growing threat from white supremacy, christian nationalism, fascism." What is the police dept thinking about this? How are we protecting our community from that?
There was a lot of data about crime, Speer says, but almost no data on racial disparities, even though it exists. "Can we just be open about that in our discussion?"…
Speer: "I hear very much your desire to reform policing. How do we showcase where we are, the same way you're showcasing crime" and hiring and the budget?
Herold: I agree and I hope to see more data on that as this plan begins.

In regard to white supremacy, I'm trying to build up the best police force possible to thwart those threats. We saw on Jan. 6, it was the police responding. We can be the last line.
Winer: "I feel like trust is the most important. I've been lucky that I've never had a bad experience with a police officer unless I've done something wrong — I'm not going to tell the community what they are. They might or might not have involved speeding. Just kidding."
Building back trust is the most important goal, Winer says. Overall, I really hope that in the ways that we change and make it even better, that it increases the trust for every person in the community as to how they feel about our police.
Joseph: "The more I listen to this conversation, the more it stresses me."
"I think some of us can really, really use some education," Joseph says. "This idea that ppl have bad interactions with our system, it's because their behavior is inappropriate...."
Joseph: At this point, community engagement is the most important. Marginalized people come in every race. It's also class, it's also LGBTQ people. And that includes some people of color.

These people should be at the forefront of what we put forward.
"Today's discussion was really difficult," Joseph says. We need to be including people in these discussions; they need to be leading.
Folkerts: "Generally, we're not able to fund plans at the full vision in our city." So knowing what people in the community are most excited about would be helpful.
Just want to note that master plans in the past have come with three levels of funding, generally around maintaining current levels of service, adding a little bit of services, and then the "vision" level of everything the community/department wants.
The city has talked a bit about moving away from that, bc the vision level never gets funded. This is the first master plan I've seen that proposed only one level of funding, which was kinda the full thing. (aside from a new police HQ)
Anyway, back to engagement. Council wondering how much has actually been done, bc it wasn't laid out in the typical way these plans report that.
It was kinda mentioned that BPD worked with groups historically targeted by police (or would continue doing so) and they did make a list, but it wasn't entirely clear what that entailed.

I haven't been able to connect with any of those groups yet, either.
I'm working on it.
Wendy Schwartz, project manager, going over some of those groups: BHP, NAACP, Mayamotion, Growing Up Boulder, National Alliance for Mental Health, Families of Color Colorado, Showing up for Racial Justice, community connectors, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Feet Forward
Schwartz: "We've made some efforts, but it's not that we can't do more. Nothing is perfect."
"We really want the community's feedback on the draft plan," Schwartz says, and consider that we might need to change things based on what it is.
NRV: This, like all the master plans, will be coming back to council for check-ins. There are budget considerations.
Speer: One of the perspectives I feel like is missing is people who are thinking about reform from a civil rights perspective. We've heard about it from a policing perspective. Can we line up a panel of civil rights experts and hear about best practices, what others are doing?
Are there groups we wanted to hear from who didn't want to engage? Speer asks. Or started and dropped out? Why is that? Who did we not hear from, and how can we do better? I want to know.
Friend asks about the panel Speer proposed.

Speer: It's just that we've heard from policing experts, but a lot of police reform is coming from the civil rights perspective. Can we hear from those experts?

That would require a majority of council to sign off, I think.
City attorney Teresa Taylor Tate: We can certainly include them in the engagement process, but in a way that is relative and balanced with all the other voices in the process.
Winer apologizing about her joke about not having bad experiences with police, to Joseph and the community.

"Just email me if you want to talk."
From my perspective, she acknowledged her privilege, and her joke was about her speeding, not about her privilege. But I'm also privileged in this regard, so maybe not the right person to have an opinion here.
Herold: I just want to say thank you to everybody for reading the master plan. These are all complex issues; my door is open. I hope we have further conversations on what we all believe is reimagining policing.
That's it for this. Quick 4-min break.
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More from @shayshinecastle

Jul 29
Not a long enough break, but moving on to a plan to buy streetlights from Xcel and convert them to LED.…
It will cost $7M
- $3.6M to buy 4,540 streetlights from Xcel
(City total is ~5,100, so Xcel owns ~89%)
- $3.4M to convert them to LED
This will reduce GHG by 1,057 metric tons each year, via a 2.3M kWh reduction in energy use — 70% less than current use.

That will save the city $$, too: about $13.6M in 20 years. It will take 9 years to pay for conversion and acquisition.
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Jul 29
First up: The city's noise/nuisance crackdown on Uni Hill.…
BRL did a great story on what the city is planning/doing up here, which includes giving cops more discretion to ticket for noise, including during the day, and removing plea deals for some of nuisance charges.…
Uni Hill is a hot spot for noise/nuisance complaints, as one might expect. These issues are not new, of course, but a couple things put this back on the map: The March 2021 riot, and a letter from the Uni Hill Neighborhood Association.
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Jul 22
Last item of the night: An update on the CAN transportation project (Core Arterial Network)…
This is a plan to focus transportation improvements along certain arterial streets, where the most serious crashes happen.

Arterial streets: 17% of city streets, 67% of severe car crashes (44% on the 13 CAN corridors)
Arterials = Main thoroughfares, the main purpose of which is to move people through from one place to another

71% of jobs and 63% of residents are within one half-mile of the CAN
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Jul 22
No presentation for this one that I saw, though staff has one. It's about Planning Board denying an application for a Raising Cane's chicken restaurant, with a drive-thru, on 28th Street (3033 28th)
There is a drive-thru cattie-corner to this; that was approved in 2008.

I tried to find out when the last drive-thru was OK'd in Boulder; staff told me the McDonald's on Baseline was approved in 2021, but that biz was already there, obviously.
I haven't gotten an answer yet as to what, exactly, was approved. It must have been a modification, bc again, McDonald's was already there.
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It's been a transportation-heavy meeting, and we're continuing on with an update on the proposed expansion of the Downtown Boulder bus station:…
Gerrit Slatter, who kinda looks like the bad guy in a '90s movie (though I'm sure is a perfectly lovely man), says "The station is at capacity."
They're adding some gates for buses, and redesigning some. That includes expanding onto 14th street on the OTHER side of Canyon. But it will stay open to cars, Slatter says.
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Jul 22
Oh, hey, we're talking briefly about even-year elections. There's a new proposal on the table that would do that transition without extending any current terms. Even-year elections would start in 2026.
There would be regularly scheduled odd-year elections in 2023 and 2025, but those council members would only get 3-year terms (instead of 4). First mayor elected in 2023 would also get a 3-year term (instead of 2).
Which is so much more palatable, to me.
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